Remember MONTHS AGO when I said there was another point where this novelization, “Steven Spielberg Presents: Back To The Future: A Robert Zemeckis Film: The Novel by George Gipe based on a screenplay by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale”, actually improves on the movie? THIS IS THAT POINT, CATS AND KITTENS. Here’s how it happens in the movie:
MARTY: Damn it, Doc, why did you have to tear up that letter? If only I had more time! …Wait a minute, I got all the time I want, I got a time machine! I can just go back early and warn him! Okay, 10 minutes ought to do it…
and this is where Movie Marty acts like Book Marty, because if he’s got all the time he wants, why is he cutting it so close? 10 minutes isn’t that long, dude! Maybe give yourself an hour or so? Get to Doc’s house early, let him know, handle any problems that pop up as they appear? Maybe have a nice chat?
In our story, Book Marty has a similar, yet suckier, epiphany:
"That’s it," he said finally. "There’s no way I can have more time at this end, but why can’t I have make time at the other end?"
And here’s where the book actually improves on it. The time machine’s controls haven’t been specified too clearly in the book, and so what happens here is Gipe cheats and imagines they’ve got a control that lets you adjust the destination time upwards or downwards by, I don’t know, pushing an up button or something. And that button adjusts it by one and sometimes two minutes, I guess?
With that, he began pushing the appropriate buttons on the DESTINATION TIME keypad so that it moved from 1:30 to 1:29 and even earlier. ”Sure,” he murmured. ”I’ll just show up in 1985 a few minutes before the terrorists shoot Doc and warn him then.”
He watched as the DESTINATION TIME readout changed from 1:26 to 1:24 and then paused, wondering if seven minutes was enough.
I mean, he’s still our incredibly thick Book Marty, as he’s using this “up” or “down” button to adjust the time rather than just punching it in directly (maybe he’s afraid of a typo sending him to the wrong decade? It’s the only explanation I can come up with) but we FINALLY have an explanation for why Marty gives himself so little time to fix things. Because it’s at this point that the car turns off and won’t turn back on again and Marty “growls” “Come on, come on, don’t tell me I came this far to run out of gas!”
So there you have it: Marty only gave himself a few minutes because he’d only scrolled the time back a little ways before the car turned off and he got distracted by more pressing matters. Nicely done, crappy book!!
And that, my friends, is THE END (of this page, I mean, there’s still a lot to go but this page is OVAH)